Hearing loss, and the resulting consequences of it, is an important problem that affects all humans. No person is exempt from the process of aging or the eventual impact it has on the ear-brain system. This point is noteworthy because the portion of the population aged 65 years and older is increasing at a faster rate than the total population. Twenty percent of the population is predicted to be 65 years or older by 2030 and between 35% and 50% will likely report having presbycusis, a sensory impairment that is treated primarily through the use of hearing aids (HA). A major problem, however, is that HA use among people with hearing loss is not prevalent (approximately 25%) and only half of those users report being satisfied with their aided performance in noise. Despite careful efforts to verify that hearing aids (HA) are fitted appropriately in the clinic, there is little evidence to support that current practices result in successful outcomes. Our hypothesis is that successful HA use depends, in part, on the signal-to-noise (SNR) ratio being delivered to a person's auditory system by their HA as well as a person's own ability to neurally encode speech in noise. Our overall project goal is to identify patient- and device-centered variables that contribute to HA success so that related outcome measures can be developed and applied in clinical settings. Two expected predictors of real-world HA success are the individual's threshold for speech in noise (SNR-50) as well as the SNR at the output of the HA.

Public Health Relevance

Despite careful efforts to verify that hearing aids (HA) are fitted appropriately in the clinic, there is little evidence to support that current practices resut in successful outcomes. Nor is it clear what clinical tools should be used to effectively measure and predict real-world, patient-centered outcomes. What is known is that the most common complaint about HAs is poor performance in noisy environments, which in turn contributes to discontinue HA use. Because untreated hearing loss contributes to a reduced quality of life, avoidance of social situations, and feelings of loneliness, successful use of amplification in noise is an important problem to solve. Our hypothesis is that successful HA use depends, in part, on the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) being delivered to a person's auditory system by their HA as well as a person's own ability to neurally encode speech in noise. Our overall project goal is to identify patient- and device-centered variables that contribute to HA success so that related outcome measures can be developed and applied in clinical settings. Two expected predictors of real-world HA success are the individual's threshold for speech in noise (SNR-50) as well as the SNR at the output of the HA.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
Type
Research Project (R01)
Project #
5R01DC012769-02
Application #
8611908
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-IFCN-M (51))
Program Officer
Donahue, Amy
Project Start
2013-02-05
Project End
2018-01-31
Budget Start
2014-02-01
Budget End
2015-01-31
Support Year
2
Fiscal Year
2014
Total Cost
$249,495
Indirect Cost
$58,245
Name
University of Washington
Department
Other Health Professions
Type
Schools of Arts and Sciences
DUNS #
605799469
City
Seattle
State
WA
Country
United States
Zip Code
98195
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